Tag Archives: diet

Clean Eating: What does it mean??

I’m sure many of you out there keep hearing this catch phrase Clean Eating.  On the surface and at face value it seems pretty straight forward, logical and powerful.  “I’m going to eat CLEAN.” eat-real-food-300x294

But… if you’re like me… you hear these catch phrases and you ask… “OK, what does it really mean?”  My initial though on the phrase is that it means you eat fresh veggies, lean proteins and low Glycemic Index carbohydrates.  You try to stay away from “processed foods” and keep it as healthy and fresh as possible.

But what is processed and what isn’t?  Ketchup? Is that processed?  How about mustard?  Can one be clean eating and the other not? How about those great burritos from Chipotle; they seem to be made fresh. Protein bars? Those don’t come from a plant, tree or animal, they’re technically processed and packaged.  Or how about the All-You-Can-Eat Sushi in town?? They make it fresh right when you order, and it’s fish.  What about soy sauce?  Because let’s be honest… this Chinese girl LOVES her soy sauce, but technically it’s not “naturally occurring”, soy sauce is the byproduct of soy beans being processed… so does that make it not OK?

So much confusion!  So many questions!  It was time to do some research…

After pulling from a couple sources, here and here, this is my conclusion.

  1. It’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle
  2. Avoid processed and refined foods
  3. Consume food in its most natural state; eat whole foods
  4. Let the food label guide you (Long list of ingredients you’ve never heard of? Pass.)

Gosh? Only four points?  Must mean it’s easy to do… maybe, maybe not.  Since clean eating is a lifestyle it’s an ongoing process and something you must keep at if you want to lead a healthier lifestyle.

I’d like to think that many of the recipes I’ve shared on my blog in the past would be considered clean eating.  See… Roasted Broccoli, Siracha Kale Chips, Taboule Salad and many more.RoastBroc2SirachaChip1BulgurWheat1

This blog post is intentionally left open ended; I don’t want to force my own opinion down your potentially clean eating throat.  Maybe do your own research and get back to me.  I’d love to hear your comments below.  So tell me… what does clean eating mean to you?

Roasted Broccoli

Yep, that’s right! I’m bringing you yet another roasted veggie with today’s blog post.

One of my favorite veggies is broccoli.  A great source of fiber and high in vitamins, see here for nutrition facts.  This is a great way to salvage some broccoli if it’s been sitting in your fridge too long.  It works wells with brand new, fresh broccoli as well.  It takes very little time to prep and not long cook time either.  This can be an easy side dish or snack when you’re running a little short on time.

This flavor combination is oddly addicting.  I’m sure this season combination would also be good on roasted cauliflower or brussel sprouts.

No need to keep building anticipation… here you go!

Ingredients:RoastBroc1
1 lb. broccoli florets
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon pepper
1 tsp. Mrs. Dash Spicy Blend
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 cloves garlic (fresh, finely chopped)

Directions: Preheat oven to 450.  Toss broccoli florets with spices and garlic.  Lay out evenly on a cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper to make clean up easier.) Roast for 8-10 minutes and serve.

RoastBroc3

RoastBroc2

Too easy… what other veggies does this make you want to roast?

Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce

If you haven’t noticed by now, I really like grilling vegetables (see Grilled Sweet Bell Peppers and Grilled Romaine Salad with Bacon and Bleu Cheese).  I think I’m drawn to doing this because roasting and grilling gives veggies another dimension of flavor you can’t achieve in other cooking methods.  It also is a low fat way to give your veggie more flavors.  With very little seasoning (if any at all) you can transform a bland vegetable into a vegetable with slightly more flavor.

I’ve always been a fan of eating artichokes.  I know some people have never even picked one up at the grocery store because they wouldn’t know how to go about cooking it or eating it.   Hopefully if you’re an artichoke virgin, this blog post helps alleviate some of those fears about artichokes.

First things first – prepping the artichoke:

Artichoke1

Each leaf on the artichoke has a little thorn at the tip of it, which makes them undesirable to handle.  Before steaming the artichoke, these spiky tips should be removed.  I use a serrated knife to cut off the tops of the artichokes.  I recommend a serrated knife as opposed to a regular knife because the leaves are rather tough when raw, and the serration help cut through the leaves easier.  I also trim up the stem at this point.  My only motivation behind it is so that it fits in the pot easier when I steam them.  Next, you should use a pair a scissors to remove the remaining spiky tips around the rest of the artichoke.

Once that is completed, place them in a pot with some water and steam them anywhere from 20-30 minutes.  The artichoke is ready when you can easily pierce the stem with a fork.

Artichoke2

Grilling the artichokes:
I started doing this about a year ago, and now that I’ve tried it, it’s my preferred method of cooking.  The ‘chokes are ready after being steamed, but I like taking it one step further and grilling them.

To do this, cut the ‘chokes in half and remove the heart.  Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper and make sure the flat surface of the ‘choke is covered (the part that will be touching the grill).  Put them on a grill with medium to medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes.  This part is to your own preference on how grilled/charred you like them.

Artichoke3 Artichoke5

Traditionally, artichokes are served with some sort of dipping sauce.  Usually it’s a mayonnaise or aioli of some sort, or melted butter.  I wanted to change it up and make a healthier dipping sauce with flavors that compliment the artichoke well.

Lemon Dill Dipping Sauce:
Plain Greek Yogurt
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tsp dill
salt & pepper

Mix the ingredients above to desired consistency.  The lemon juice is meant to add flavor as well as thin the yogurt a bit so it’s not so thick and easier to dip into.

Artichoke6

 

There you have it, I hope you enjoy.  What other veggies do you like grilling?

Siracha Kale Chips

Here’s another edition of “Lessons learned the hard way by Cindy.”  One of the things I love about cooking is the experimenting; laughing at myself, then sharing it will all you lovely people.

This week’s lesson is on Kale.  All kale is not created equal.  Ok… well nutritionally, it’s more or less the same, but in kitchen cooking it is not exactly the same.  There are three types of kale: curly kale, red kale and lacinato kale.

Lays Potato Chips just had a contest to have consumers help pick the next big potato chip flavor.  Chicken & Waffles, Garlic Bread and Siracha were the three flavors vying for the winning spot.

It seems to me that it would be a no-brainer that Siracha should win hands down.  I’ve tried the Lays chips, and they were good.  I didn’t think it tasted THAT much like the real thing, but it was a spicy reddish colored chip and I managed to eat nearly an entire bag of them so they couldn’t have been that bad.  However, since I wasn’t that satisfied with the flavor, and eating a whole bag of potato chips isn’t a healthy thing to do, I decided to try to make Siracha kale chips.

Round 1:
I used curly kale.  Why? Because it was already cut, washed and ready for me in a bag and I figured it would be good enough.  The flavor was… “meh” at best.  I didn’t add enough siracha mixture to the kale prior to baking. The result was just average, not above average.  I deemed it more or less a fail, and thought “not sharing this one with the world…”

SirachaChip2

Round 2:
Next, I tracked down some lacinato kale.  It has more of a flat appearance.  I ramped up my Siracha mixture and took another stab at it.  MUCH better results this time around!!  Siracha Lacinato Kale Chips = success!

Both types of kale will work, but now that I’ve had curly kale and lacinato kale, I prefer the lacinato kale for chip purposes.

Ingredients:
Lacinato Kale
1 Tbsp. Siracha
1 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp red vinegar

Directions:  Wash and dry kale really well.  Break kale into large chip size pieces.  Remove stems (they can be bitter when cooked).  Combine Siracha, olive oil and red vinegar well.  Toss with kale.  Lay flavored kale out on a cookie sheet, single layer.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until crisp.

SirachaChips3

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Hope you enjoy this recipe!  Let me know what you think.

Diets, Servings and Portion Distortions

There are LOTS of diets out there – I repeat – LOTS.  Atkins, Paleo, South Beach… etc.  I could go on and on.  And every so often a new fad diet pops up that really takes off.  A few years back when my girlfriends and I were all “starving” college students.  I thought my best friend was on to the next, hot, fad diet.

In an effort to save money, she decided to eat everything in her pantry rather than to go to the store.  A win-win situation if you will.  Pantry gets empty, more money in pocket.  In her quest, she found an old peanut butter and jelly sandwich she had made a few days…weeks… maybe even months prior in a backpack.  (LIGHTBULB) Eat the sandwich.  This sandwich consequently made her feel ill for the next few days and totally suppressed her appetite.  She told me about this experience and we determined it must be the next hot thing.  We were going to call it the “Eat-a-three-month-old-sandwich-lose-your-appetite” diet. The ETMOSLYA for short.  Sadly, it did not catch on.  Weird.

At any rate, my point here is that no matter what fad diet you encounter or crazy scheme you think up in your head, a lot of eating healthy comes down to portion control.  Thee ole adage “Eat Everything in Moderation.”  This is my favorite approach to food, because you don’t really feel deprived, but you do have to exercise some will power.  Understand that you will get a next meal.  Understand that eating it faster doesn’t make more appear.  Understand that eating it slow allows your body the chance to recognize you’ve eaten.  Click here to read about portion size vs. serving size.  There is a distinct difference.

Now, I know in real life, we all have a hard time executing this.  My mission here is to make you more aware.  To think about what you eat before you eat it.  Below are everyday objects that represent how much you should be eating for each of the listed food groups.  Serving sizes do not change whether you are male or female, but total calorie intake therefore number of servings changes per individual.

Grain: 1 serving = ½ baseball (usually 2 servings – 1 baseball – is appropriate for a woman)

Protein: 1 serving (deck of cards)

Dairy: 1 serving, 4 dice (cheese) or half a baseball (ice cream) or 8 oz. milk

Vegetables:  The government guidelines recommend 2 ½ cups of veggies.  I say, don’t skimp or limit yourself in this category.

If you want a reference specific to you, simply use your hand.  A fist is your fruits and grain measurement.  Your palm is your recommended protein size.

My request to you – think about what you eat before you eat it.  Do a mental checklist of what you’re putting into your body.  Are you eating the recommended portion?